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Isner Saves 3 M.P. To Edge Anderson For Third Round Berth

Shanghai, China

Isner© AFP/Getty ImagesJohn Isner has hit 941 aces during the 2012 ATP World Tour season.

Eighth seed John Isner saved three match points versus Kevin Anderson on Tuesday at the Shanghai Rolex Masters to keep alive his outside chances of qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals next month.

Isner booked his place in the third round after he beat his South African opponent 7-6(3), 6-7(8), 7-6(7) in two hours and 46 minutes on Stadium Court.

In an ace-fuelled duel, which featured no service breaks, Isner failed to convert one match point opportunity at 7-6 in the second set tie-break. Anderson, who hit 21 aces and won 77 per cent of his service points, then squandered three match points at 6-4 and 7-6 in the third set tie-break.

Isner, who is No. 14 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings Race To London, struck 24 aces and won 79 per cent of his service points, to improve to a 44-18 match record on the season.

"Really we both served well," said Isner. "It's one of the few times where, I don't think I was out served, but he served right up there with me as far as aces, percentages, what not. So we both were serving exceptionally well. It came down to a few points here or there, and I was able to pull it out. It was looking bleak for a little bit. I served well enough to maybe win in two sets, but I had to win in three. I'm very, very excited to get through. I know I easily could have lost that one." 

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Croatian No. 10 seed Marin Cilic joined Isner in the third round after the World No. 16 defeated Slovakian Martin Klizan, the recent St. Petersburg Open titlist, 7-5, 6-1 in just over 90 minutes. It was a repeat of their US Open fourth-round meeting, which Cilic also won in straight sets.

In first-round action, Canadian No. 12 seed and last week's Tokyo runner-up Milos Raonic hit 14 aces to beat Australian qualifier Marinko Matosevic 7-6(4), 6-3 in 89 minutes. He will face Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, who dismissed Italy’s Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-2 in 73 minutes. Meanwhile, French No. 15 seed Gilles Simon knocked out Jurgen Melzer of Austria 6-4, 6-2 in 82 minutes.

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